Disney has been taking older films like Cinderella, Jungle Book, and Alice and Wonderland and remaking them for today’s audience. Disney is now taking the chance of remaking the tale of Pete’s Dragon. Even though there is not much of a story to be retold as the original was good but for the light humor with Mickey Rooney, this risk of this remake is lower than monumental classics like the ones mentioned above. However the remaking business, Pete’s Dragon is will surprise you the most…
This remake was written and Directed by David Lowery, who is known and recognized for independent films. Pete’s Dragon is a remake about a boy name Pete who loses his parents in a traumatic accident in the middle of the woods. At the time of the accident, Pete was round 5 or 6 years old. He was stranded with nothing but being prey to the wild until he is saved and nurtured by a dragon. Because of his favorite book that was saved in the crash he names his dragon Elliot. Elliot has the ability to camouflage like a chameleon in the forest and that is why no one else has been able to track or find the dragon. The dragon was an urban legend like Bigfoot is in the Northwest.
Pete had lived in the wilderness for six years. While exploring, he came across a girl who was bored and waiting for her father that runs a lumber company. When the lumber jacks and the Forest department catch Pete who becomes frightened with the people trying catch him, he ends up in the care of Grace, a lady who grew up in the Forest with her Dad named Meacham. While Grace is trying to solve how Pete had survived in the forest so long, the story and myth of a dragon becomes more of a reality, and the relationship between Pete and Elliot (what Pete named his dragon) become more important than ever.
It has been a long time that a feel good family movie has come out. I understand that there has been different animated films that have come, but some are for older kids, or have a political or agenda you feel gets pushed into a film. Pete’s Dragon though ‘could have’ drawn different motives, however kept to the storyline and didn’t veer off from the path about Pete and Elliot. The film is emotional and touches the heart of every viewer who sits down and sees it.
There is nothing similar or even to compare with the original Pete’s Dragon that came out in 1977. The only similarity is that both films have a green dragon. This dragon doesn’t stand out like the one on 77, it looks like it fits within the realm of live action. Elliot the dragon is loveable and approachable. It wasn’t like the dragons you see in the Hobbit or in Game of Thrones, were they aren’t the fun loving type of Dragon. Elliot, is also isn’t a pushover for anyone as well. We do see a Dragon like temper when Elliot the Dragon is crossed. The concept of Elliot really allows kids to enjoy and not fear it. From the kids I saw in the audience, they embraced Elliot rather than be scared of him.
Oakes Fegley who plays Pete did a stunning job. Disney has success in finding good young actors to play these leading roles, like in the boy who played Mowgli recent Jungle Book. Oakes Fegley brings the reality and misunderstanding how his home was the forest, and his family is Elliot. With a very sad disaster in his life by losing his parents of a horrific accident, the phobia of society and the portrayal of a confused child is believable with conviction.
What really brought this film to the next level is the acting of Robert Redford. He plays a man named Meacham, who is known as the ‘old timer’ in the community. He claims he had seen a dragon in the forest. Every time he talks about his encounter with a Dragon in the forest, it becomes more and more of a tall tale. However with the emerging story of the boy found in the woods, and Pete’s story of living with a Dragon, Redford’s character gives a good solid grounding of the film so that viewers can relate and follow along. Redford brought wisdom and a sense of belief and conviction that help the flow of the film.
The film started off well by learning about Pete and his tragic beginnings, however it felt like it slowed way down with an unsurely how one is going to get Pete from the Forest to civilization. However once Pete was discovered by Natalie in the woods, it was like a rollercoaster than we didn’t want to end.
Pete’s Dragon ended solid I would be surprised it there would ever be a sequel on the way it ended. I am not saying because if there was tragedy or something that would prevent it. It is because the way the movie ended, it felt like we went through a complete cycle and story that left you satisfied. I didn’t need any more or less. It was just right. A great storyline, great supporting cast with Bryce Dallas Howard, and Karl Urban, and beautiful setting for a beautiful story, it was a full course meal that didn’t need a mint at the end.
Someone asked me how it compares to the original. It isn’t the same, nor can it be compared, because this is Pete’s Dragon is unique, compelling, and is its own story. It cannot be compared nor does it take away for the prior film. The only shame of this film is that not enough people will see it. It is a must see!
4 ½ Stars out of 5
If you like this film, I recommend:
Another Ending Story